5 Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? Sarah Tew/CNET The end came quietly, slipped in with a series of back-to-school announcements about better screens and lower prices for the MacBook Air, and, uh, more Touch Bars for the MacBook Pro. No formal announcement was made in the jargon-filled press release letting us know that the entry-level Pro now features “Touch Bar and Touch ID, a True Tone Retina display and the Apple T2 Security Chip,” but a quick check online confirmed that the 12-inch MacBook had been removed from Apple’s website. And the 12-inch MacBook wasn’t alone in going to the big upstate farm where old computers allegedly roam, with free Wi-Fi and plenty of power outlets. The “classic” MacBook Air and the Touch-Bar-less MacBook Pro also exited active duty. But those are easier to let go of. The former was so outdated as to be hard to recommend, the latter is getting the higher-end features of its more-expensive cousin while keeping the same price. I’ll come right out and say it. The 12-inch MacBook was an unfairly maligned, misunderstood product. In fact, at several points since its 2015 debut, it’s been my favorite laptop. Insanely portable, very light, great 12-inch display, and a sharp look that turned coffee shop heads back when smaller-screen laptops were mostly low-end junk. In 2016, I proudly declared it “my favorite laptop” and “my top go-to machine.” I even wrote most of a 75,000-word book on its super-shallow keyboard. But I also acknowledged why a lot of people just didn’t “get” the 12-inch MacBook. “The knocks against this system — an odd-man-out, not part of either the Air or Pro MacBook lines — were numerous. Its screen was too small; the keyboard too shallow; not enough ports; no MagSafe power connection; underpowered, even compared to the base MacBook Air; and battery life that didn’t measure up to the MacBook standard.”I also said, “The 12-inch MacBook won’t do everything and isn’t for everyone. But its strictly enforced minimalism will make this laptop the model that industrial designers will strive to copy for the next several years.” And that has certainly come to pass. USB-C as the go-to standard? Check. Butterfly keyboard on every MacBook? Check (although who knows for how much longer). Higher-res, Retina-style screens as table stakes for premium laptops? Check.I recall people tearing their hair out over the single USB-C port in the first 12-inch MacBook. No USB-A, no HDMI — how could anyone use a laptop like that? Now, many super-premium 13-inch laptops have at best a couple of USB-C ports and little else. Just one port. Sarah Tew/CNET It reminds me of when Apple led the way dropping things like Ethernet jacks and optical drives from computers. The company was just a little ahead of the curve about what features were on their way out. The 12-inch MacBook didn’t physically connect to anything because many modern laptops don’t need to physically connect to anything. Between Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cloud-connected services, I can’t recall the last time I had to plug something into a travel laptop. I was excited to get a USB memory key with dual USB-A and USB-C ports several months ago. Still haven’t taken it out of the package. If it was so great, then what killed the 12-inch MacBook? The culprit was the very system the it was originally supposed to replace. The 13-inch MacBook Air, for many years the single most universally useful laptop you could buy (and a staple for students and office workers alike), had fallen into the phantom zone where Apple sticks products that stagnate with minimal, if any, updates for years on end. But last year, the Air finally got the top-to-bottom makeover it needed and became a sales leader, leaving few reasons beyond slightly better portability to choose the 12-inch model instead. Call it natural selection or survival of the fittest, but it’s the law of the gadget jungle. And before I get too morose over the death of the 12-inch MacBook, I should remember that I’m writing this on — you guessed it — an excellent new 13-inch MacBook Air. Aug 31 • Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile vs Sprint: Choose the best 5G carrier Share your voice Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it Apple • Apple Tags Computers Laptops Comments See All reading • RIP 12-inch Apple MacBook, my misunderstood friend Aug 31 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors
Speakers at a roundtable on `Institutionalisation of Urban Community Volunteers` organised by Prothom Alo in association with Social and Economic Enhancement Programme (SEEP) of Save the Children at the daily’s Karwan Bazar office on Wednesday. Photo: Abdus SalamUrban planners and people concerned at a roundtable on Wednesday said volunteers at the urban level of disaster management need to be brought under one umbrella organisation in order to ensure effective and prompt response to disasters.The roundtable styled “Institutionalisation of Urban Community Volunteers” was organised by Prothom Alo in association with Social and Economic Enhancement Programme (SEEP) of Save the Children at the daily’s Karwan Bazar office in the capital.Speakers highlighted various aspects and obstacles of disaster management, especially in at an urban level.Citing the difference between coastal and urban disaster management, they said volunteers working in urban areas needed different training and technical support.Although many NGOs conducting different training programmes for volunteers, most of them are ad hoc or project- based. When their training project ends, the volunteers do not have proper guidelines about their service that leads them to drop out in many cases. Institutionalising community volunteers would make their services well-organised.The discussants said the Bangladesh government is committed to train 62,000 community volunteers as the densely populated nation is highly susceptible to earthquakes.Emphasising the issue of awareness building, the disaster management and relief ministry’s additional secretary Satya Brata Saha said a nation needs a vision for development.The discussants suggested initiatives to create awareness about the disaster management among people through TV programmes, community radio and street plays.The Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) conducts training, seminars, street plays and campaigns to raise awareness on disaster management.Speakers at a roundtable on `Institutionalisation of Urban Community Volunteers` organised by Prothom Alo in association with Social and Economic Enhancement Programme (SEEP) of Save the Children at the daily’s Karwan Bazar office on Wednesday. Photo: Abdus SalamThe discussants said a single agency should take all the responsibilities for the urban community volunteers with particular roles. The agency should be strengthened so that they can lead efficiently during any disaster.Describing community as the worst sufferer and first responder during any disaster, director general at Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence brigadier general Ali Ahmed Khan said, “Trained volunteers are assets for any society.” Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence have already trained up 33000 volunteers with the financial support of Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme, he mentioned.Ali Ahmed Khan said, “The fire service in association with community volunteers can build up a sustainable force “.He said the fire service maintained a manual database not a digital one. So they faced difficulties to find volunteers during a fire. Besides they couldn’t share their database with the city corporations, the municipality and other offices in the district level so that they could get help from the volunteers.Praising Prothom Alo’s initiative, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on relief and disaster management Dhirendra Debnath Shambhu said, “The government is currently working on building an umbrella organisation for all the volunteer groups.”Disaster being a barrier to development, disaster management needs to be more effective and up to the standard to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, he said.Trained volunteers Mohammed Wahid and Mohammed Shaheed Alam, director general of Disaster Management Directorate Md Reaz Ahmed, director (admin) of CPP Ahmadul Haque and director of Programme Development and Quality at Save the Children Reefat Bin Sattar and other also spoke at the roundtable.Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Quayum moderated it.